I was scrolling through memes one day and I noticed something. Most of them were pessimistic. Everything goes bad. Nothing is becoming better. Why bother? The decay will eventually destroy everything, not to mention the heat death of the Universe is coming.
I was immersed in this pessimistic environment and soon it started to shape me. I did not see any future. Everything was bleak. I just sat there, doing nothing, waiting for the worst to come.
How pointless this way of thinking is! It does not move me forward. It offers to take away worries and responsibility from me but it does not tell you it will also take the power from me. It leaves me powerless. Unable to do anything, unable to take action and unable to live.
This has to stop.
Why shouldn’t I be optimistic about the future? Why not be an optimistic futurist?
It’s better than being pessimistic. It opens options to explore. It creates possibilities I can look forward to. Being optimistic about the future gives back agency and power. And responsibility, too, as the wise man said.
I found Isaac Arthur’s videos instrumental in this transition. Isaac discusses different futuristic topics in his videos, from mind uploading and life with advanced AIs to interstellar travel and building megastructure in space.
Never see the world as it appears. Dare to see it for what it could be.
The futures Isaac portraits show what amazing things that are possible and how they can move us forward to new levels. They come with their challenges, sure, but they lure you to at least consider taking a chance. To be unreasonable and to dream big.
Another gentle push came from reading Factfulness. In this book, Hans Rosling shows that despite what you see in the news and what your surroundings try to tell you, the world is becoming a better place. Fewer people die of hunger. There are fewer wars. More people get educated and live better lives than their parents. It’s a slow, almost invisible process but the world is moving forward. Is the world a perfect place to live? No, not there yet. But it is a better place than it used to be.
And then there are people. I surrounded myself with people who say that anything is possible. The conversations I have with them short-circuit any counter-arguments in my head and put me on the right track again. Even this possibility of being an optimistic futurist came out of such conversation.
All of this combined, all of those gentle pushes and all of those conversations transformed me into being an optimistic futurist. To dream big, take actions, be unreasonable. To make this little patch of the Universe a bit better place to live.
The best way to predict your future is to create it.
The space of optimistic futurism is a way better place to be in. It’s more alive, full of possibilities and creation. Everything is possible.
Originally published at https://conradthegray.com on May 10, 2020.